Today, I am proud of myself.

It has been a rough day. In all honesty, the last couple months have been difficult. I had to leave my job due to unsafe working conditions. I have found another job since, but only just recently.  Here’s the problem: I filed for unemployment and am being bounced around through loopholes.

Here’s the deal-io: I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a nice lady from the unemployment office. I am being serious, she was very nice. She only put me on hold to read through my case and whenever I corrected her on something, she said, “You’re right, let me try to make more sense of this.” She finally went and got her supervisor, who enforced a loop hole and she was no longer able to help me.

It was difficult. We are not currently drowning in debt collectors, but we are just barely keeping our necks above the murky waters. We have had to extend our bills out to the maximum amount of time before late fees are charged. We have sought public assistance programs and will need to again, shortly. Still, things could be far worse. We still have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry, and we are both now working so this situation is certainly temporary.
The thing is that I earned that unemployment by working. I had to leave my job to prevent any further physical harm from coming to myself. It was not just a “I’m sick of having to work, I think I’ll draw money off the system” type of deal. It was a difficult choice, but I believe I made the right one. Jobs can be replaced, fingers cannot.
Having said all of that, I was very distraught when I got off the phone with the nice lady. I threw myself on the bed and sobbed, loudly. I could hear my neighbors murmuring. They were probably wondering what on Earth was going on. It only lasted 5 or so minutes, but I continued to cry for a good hour afterwards.  Taking a shower, reading, and trying to get proactive about the situation has helped, but I am still fighting the urge to curl up in bed and sob.  Despite this, I am proud of myself.  Why?
Because I have not allowed this unfortunate situation to overwhelm and engulf me. I am going to get a huge stack of necessary papers together and physically go down to the unemployment office, where things will be straightened out.  I am not going to mope around the house all day, I have things to do. I am an adult and I have responsibilities. The good thing about this is that it is very distracting and helps me realize that life does go on.  Even if it turns out that I do not prevail in this situation, life goes on.
Still, I have learned something. I believe it is time to leave Indiana. The labor laws here are atrocious. Corporations are favored over individuals. It is a highly depressed are due to this and other situations (such as addiction being treated from a criminal standpoint instead of a mental health one, a very gender biased public assistance program, and a piss poor educational system).  It is high time Hubby and I took a good look at our lives and how negatively impacted they have been because of this. When we are able to move out of the area, I would rather go to a state with better labor laws, better social programs, and a much better educational system.
Lesson learned, Indiana. You are not worth the negativity.
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Unemployment – Reversing the Emotional Impact

Being unemployed is unpleasant for most people. It is hard in this economy to build a solid savings to keep you afloat if you have the misfortune of losing your job. This can exacerbate the stress of finding another job as quickly as possible. In today’s changing world, people do not seem to be sticking with one job for decades on end as they did a few decades ago. Instead, many seem to “job hop” until they find the right job and company for them. This can be great; it can be a means to learn a great deal in a short time as you experience different situations with different companies and jobs. It can also be bad. A lot of employers may still think negatively when they review a job applicant who has multiple, short term jobs on their resume. This can be another point of stress for the person trying to find a new job. Will the person doing the hiring consider my resume positive for learning and trying new things? Or will they think that I simply cannot hold down a job? In my experience, as much as companies claim it is not so, many companies still rely on intuition and inconsistent hiring methods. In other words, how you come across on your resume is determined by the state of mind of the person viewing it. You could have the perfect job history and still not get hired, because the person just “didn’t feel” you were the right fit. With such an inconsistent hiring practice, it’s a wonder anyone gets hired. However, this can be yet another negative stressor for the person seeking a new job.

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Keep your chin up! This is hard to do when bills are mounting, spouses are claiming you’re not trying hard enough to find another job, and your self-esteem is plummeting. Just keep at it. Keep filling out those applications, even the same ones over and over again. Keep pumping out those resumes! Take advantage of free services offered by your local job seeking service. I like to use mine to print free resumes and business cards. A great idea is to take this time and find alternative methods for employment. Are you good at yard work? Can you crochet or knit? Do you love cleaning house or organizing things? All of these things can be turned into an alternative form of employment until you get back on your feet again. It is possible that one of your hobbies or strong points could turn into a full time career, but let’s not get wrapped up in that. It’s great to hope for the stars, but you have bills to pay.

I have had several bouts of unemployment over the past two years. I find it difficult to work in a negatively-oriented setting with other people who have truly bad attitudes. Seeing as how I do not have a degree, I tend to find work in general labor or entry level positions. It seems there is a higher ratio, according to my own personal experiences, of people who have poor attitudes towards others in these positions. I can’t completely blame them – they are doing the hard, dirty work that no one else wants to and are often not getting the credit for it. Still, the best way to work, I’ve always felt, was as an uplifting team. When this type of attitude becomes prevalent in the work force in your area, you may find it more difficult to get the motivation to seek another job. Why spend your time around people who are disrespectful for such low pay?

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Start your dream job. I know, I said earlier not to get wrapped up in this, but hear me out. You need to pay your bills, that’s a fact of life. No matter how much we wish money was not the object, it still is. Just find a job that you can stand and get those bills paid. If you are able, try to find a job that does not do a lot of overtime: you’re going to need all the extra time you can get working on your project. Yourself. That’s right, spend your extra time doing what makes you happy and what leads to that dream job. Take night classes one course at a time, refine your skills, practice marketing and sales of your skills by exploring online social media. All of these things will help you take those small steps towards your dream job that lead to larger steps and, ultimately, your goal. This is not something that is going to happen overnight; it will take time, effort, and commitment. Create some basic goals to base your motivation on. This way, when you feel your efforts are lessening, you can remind yourself of your goals and pick up some extra steam. To do this, you need to ask yourself some questions. Why do I want this particular dream job? What am I going to get out of it that will make me happy? How is my time, effort, and money worth this compared to a 9 to 5 job? By answering these questions, you will create a positively-oriented foundation to keep you continually motivated in seeking that dream job!

Remember, keep looking for that 9 to 5 job because better things are on the horizon.

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A Change of Mind

What I should be doing the most and want to do the least right now is to write.  Let me be clear, I love to write.  When I sit down with a plan of writing, I don’t have to come up with much of anything.  It seems as though the ideas just bleed out of my mind through my fingertips.  What could possibly be the problem, then?  I am unemployed.  As one does when they lose their job, I am looking at all possible ways to bring in extra income.  Why not with my writing?

Now that I know I have to write, I don’t want to do it.  This happened when I tried to sell my knitting and crochet, I didn’t want to do it anymore.  It begins to feel as if my very soul (if I ever had one in the first place) is being bled dry.  Whatever Depression I may have felt before I began this adventure in making money through my writing has done nothing but increase because of wanting to make money from writing.  Ah Paradox, you do make life interesting.

 

My idea for overcoming this is to strike down this Depression with the mighty hammer of routine.  Take that!  POW!

My plan, and so far it is just a plan, is to simply take my laptop and get off the couch.  I am going to walk across the block with laptop in tow and spend a few hours each day at the Library, writing.  I have a few online writing classes that I am planning on signing up for as well, to keep things more structured.

Planning is the key word here.  It truly does not matter how much planning I do if I never go through with any of it.  It’s the living and doing that matters and I find that my ideals of both are being challenged on a daily basis.  I am actually glad that I lost my job.  Say what?  Yes, glad that I lost my job.

My job was making me very sick.  Not just the poor air quality, but the poor management and sub par group of people (how dare I judge others based on their lack of education, good manners, and consideration for others!).  At any rate, it was awful.  I am glad to be rid of it but not so happy to struggle to pay bills.  However I do find that I now have different ideas about consumerism, reusing and recycling, and time management.  Living is different now, when one takes out the Almighty Dollar.  It’s kind of liberating.

I digress.  I need to start writing more so I may start posting more short stories or just plain gibberish about my day.  You have been forewarned.

Out of a Job

..and out of sanity.

I lost my job around Christmas time due to inconsistent Human Resource practices.  I had walking pneumonia and Hubby had been experiencing health woes as well.  Whenever I’d bring my Doctor’s notes in from either my visits or Hubby’s, I was told that “they didn’t accept consecutive days” or that “the weren’t going to accept them” at all.  This eventually mounted and I ended up pointing out of their already somewhat screwy point system.  It is a wonder to me that company’s such as this are not fixing the painfully obvious problems that are causing such low employee retention rates, but that’s their perogerative, I suppose.  It’s now mine to find a different job and, hopefully, a better place to work.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, there are a few things I’ve learned about myself in the past few weeks of being without a permanent source of income.  The first and most overpowering lesson has been that society equates how much money you make with how successful or even how important you are as a human being.  I am not currently bringing any money in so I have lost value to some people.  It has been eye opening and has taught me that these people were not worth holding on to, but it has been painful.  My brother has struggled with unemployment as well and I fear that I treated him in this manner, even though my intentions were to try to encourage him to find a job.  The problem?  He was doing everything he could to find work, as I am doing now.  It’s simply not out there.

I believe the problem is a culmination of poor education in our country combined with poor Human Resources and management practices.  People are changing their expectations of their future employees and, at the same time, our standards of education are dropping.  This conflict is causing a frustrating situation in which one must possess a Bachelor’s Degree to be considered for even the most basic of work.

Not only has our country’s educational standards dropped, but I feel the expectations of employers has become somewhat unrealistic.  Instead of creating an environment where people can learn and grow into the ideal employee, every employer wants their newly hired employees to already be that person: polished, consisting of the company’s specific (but vaguely stated) values, and professional in every mannerism.  Instead, why not offer the employees things such as mentoring programs where “veteran” employees can take them under their wing to teach them things like customer service, how to treat your coworkers with respect, and how to maintain professionalism even in the face of outright disrespect.

Instead, employers expect you to know all of this.  I am always blown away by the fact that it is now a given to have every job description followed by the statement “experience required”.  This tells me that the company is unwilling to take an interest in its employees to the point of providing and nurturing an atmosphere where experience can be obtained and skills honed.  When I see this statement, I cringe and detest every stroke of ink I have to put on the resume (out of sheer desperation).  If I had the choice, I would not be applying for a job posting with a company such as this.

On top of these frustrations, I live in an area that is highly nepotistic.  I would have a better chance at getting a job if I knew the CEO’s daughter than if I had all the qualifications.  Sad, but very true in Ye Olde Timey Towne of the MidWest.  Factories are abundant here, but because we live in a Right-To-Work (for less) state, they treat their employees worse than the product they are trying to make.  And don’t get me started on how they could save so much money and overtime if they hired people with enough common sense to actually care about the product they were making.

All in all, work sucks.  Because of this, I want to go back into Healthcare.  I want to make a difference in someone else’s life.  If no matter where I go to work I am going to run across nepotism, favortism, unfair work practices, and poor Human Resource practices.. at least let me make a difference in the life of someone else while I am there.  That alone will give me the sanity I need to continue working.  In the meantime, I need to find sanity while I’m not working.